|Anastase Andreivitch Vonsiatsky|
June 12, 1898|
Warsaw, Russian Empire
|Died||February 5, 1965
St. Petersburg, Florida, United States
Anastasy Andreyevich Vonsyatsky (Russian: Анаста́сий Андре́евич Вонся́цкий, Polish: Anastazy Wąsacki; June 12, 1898 – February 5, 1965), better known in the United States as Anastase Andreivitch Vonsiatsky, was a Russian anti-Bolshevik émigré and fascist leader based in the United States since the 1920s.
He became a naturalized American citizen while leading a splinter far-right organization, the Russian National Revolutionary Labor and Workers Peasant Party of Fascists. The headquarters of the RFO were based in Putnam, Connecticut. Vonsyatsky was charged with the support of secret contacts with agents of Nazi Germany and arrested by the FBI in 1942, following the United States' entry into war with Germany and Japan.
Released early from prison in 1946, Vonsyatsky lived out the remainder of his life in the United States. He died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1965.
Early life in Russia
Anastasy Andreyevich Vonsyatsky was born in Warsaw, Poland (then part of the Russian Empire) to a privileged Polish family known for its long devotion to the Russian czars; one of Vonsyatsky's great-grandparents had been handed a titled estate from the Romanovs.
Embarking on a military career in the Imperial Russian Army during the reign of Nicholas II, Anastasy Vonsyatsky proceeded in the footsteps of his father, a professional army officer assassinated at a Radom office of the imperial gendarmerie by a Polish revolutionary in 1910.
Activity after 1917
After the revolutionary events of October 1917, which brought the Leninist Bolsheviks to power and climaxed in the protracted Russian Civil War of 1917-1923, Vonsyatsky, newly admitted to St. Petersburg as a military cadet, took part in the anti-Bolshevik opposition and served in the counter-revolutionary White movement, first seeing action against the Red Army at Rostov. Leaving the White Army's stronghold in the Crimean Peninsula with the departing forces of General Wrangel, he was evacuated to western Europe in 1920. Traveling through Constantinople and France, Vonsyatsky arrived in the United States in 1922, having married a wealthy American woman he had met in Paris (Marion B. Ream).
Vonsyatsky became a naturalized citizen of the United States in the Superior Court of Windham County, Putnam, Connecticut, on September 30, 1927. In March 1930, Vonsyatsky was given an American reserve officer's commission and appointed a first lieutenant of the United States Army Reserve; the military commission would eventually expire in 1935.
Forming political connections within the émigré circles after establishing himself outside Russia, Vonsyatsky was, at one point in the interwar period, a leader of the Russian Fascist Organization, an initially independent movement that later became closely associated with the Manchuria-based Russian Fascist Party (RFP). In 1933, Vonsyatsky split from the RFP and founded the Russian National Revolutionary Labor and Workers Peasant Party of Fascists (also referred to as the All Russian National Revolutionary Party), another anti-Soviet and anti-communist organization. The group's headquarters were established at the Vonsyatsky estate in Thompson, Connecticut.
He became a subject of FBI investigation and was indicted in 1942 for connections with proxies for German interests, including key participants in the pro-Nazi German-American Bund, whose leader, Fritz Kuhn, had previously been assisted by Vonsyatsky's bail money in 1939. Among other reputed contacts made with pro-Axis agents, the FBI noted a 1941 trip to San Francisco, California, allegedly to contact a Madam Takita, an alleged Japanese agent, who was to arrive aboard the ship Tatuta Maru; evidence confirming some relation to the American Hitler admirer and anti-semite William Dudley Pelley was also found. Indicted for conspiring to assist Hitler's Germany in violation of the Espionage Act alongside fellow conspirators Wilhelm Kunze, Dr. Otto Willumeit, Dr. Wolfgang Ebell, and Reverend Kurt E. B. Molzahn, Vonsyatsky submitted a guilty plea after first protestations of innocence, and was convicted in Hartford, Connecticut on June 22, 1942. Despite the official prison sentence of five years and a fine of $5000, he was released on February 26, 1946, his sentence effectively having been cut short to the three and a half years in prison already served.
Many of the documents of Vonsyatsky were stored in the archives of the Hoover Institution in California, in the collection of Professor John Stephan, author of The Russian Fascists: Tragedy and Farce in Exile, 1925-1945 and Providence College, Phillips Memorial Library.
Despite earlier publications supplemented by photographs of German soldiers beneath such titles as "The Army of the Holy Swastika" and continuing collaboration with the German-American Bund elements during World War II, in public appeals amid the growing anti-German sentiment of the early 1940s, Vonsyatsky's addresses to his target audience struck a different tone. Among other statements, Vonsyatsky wrote:
"Fascisms are different. The German, Italian, and Russian Fascisms are different in many respects. The Russian Fascist Party is just a united movement of Russians against Communism, and Fascism is the only political society on the earth at the present time that can wipe out Communism. Force is the only thing that can knock it down."
In summer 1940, Vonsyatsky's publications declared the following:
"The Russian National Revolutionary Party, of which I am the leader, does not support either Germany's or Japan's ambition for hegemony in Europe or the Far East.
"The Germans and the Japanese have never made clear their attitude toward a replacement of the present Stalinist rule by a Russian National Government.
"The sole aim of our organization is to return Russia to a free people with a government elected by the people, of the people and for the people.
"Our intention is to form in Russia a truly DEMOCRATIC government.
"Our Party is not anti-Semitic.
"Our Party has no membership dues; it is financed solely by voluntary contributions from its members and sympathizers. It is not subsidized by any FOREIGN POWER or foreign individuals.
"Our organization is BANNED in Germany and Japan.
"Only in the United States can we enjoy freedom of action and thought within the laws of the country.
"I HEREWITH STATE EMPHATICALLY THAT THE ACTIVITIES OF OUR ORGANIZATION ARE AGAINST THE PRESENT SOVIET GOVERNMENT ALONE AND THAT IN NO WAY WHATSOEVER DOES IT ACT AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OR VIOLATE ITS LAWS WHICH WE LOYALLY SUPPORT.
"ANASTASE A. VONSIATSKY
"July 4, 1940"
- "Famous Cases: Vonsiatsky Espionage". FBI History. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
- Stephan (John J.) Collection
- Guide to the Anastase A. Vonsiatsky and Marion B. Ream papers 1861-1970
- The Russian Fascists: Tragedy and Farce in Exile, 1925—1945 by John J. Stephan ISBN 0-06-014099-2
- E. Oberlander, 'The All-Russian Fascist Party', Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 1, No. 1. (1966), pp. 158–173
- К. В. Родзаевский. Завещание Русского фашиста. М., ФЭРИ-В, 2001 ISBN 5-94138-010-0
- А.В. Окороков. Фашизм и русская эмиграция (1920-1945 гг.). М., Руссаки, 2002 ISBN 5-93347-063-5
- Н.Н. Грозин. Защитные рубашки. Шанхай: Издательство Всероссийский Русский Календарь, 1939.
- FBI History. Famous Cases. Vonsiatsky Espionage. N.B.: the article confuses the political term "White Russian" (or "White émigré") with Belarusian origin, as Belarus was then often referred to as "White Russia".
- The Great Conspiracy: The Secret War Against Soviet Russia (1946)